General News of Thursday, 5 April 2018
The Ministry of Finance has released over 40 million cedis to settle arrears owed some teachers since 2012.
This comes shortly after the National Association of Graduate Teachers [NAGRAT], declared a strike over the outstanding arrears owed its members.
The Finance Ministry, in a letter dated 29th March 2018, but released only today [Wednesday] April 4, 2018, indicated that the arrears will cover some “2,566 Ghana Education Service employees.”
The letter further indicated that the said amount “should be charged against the March 2018 salaries of the Ministry of Education per the Ministry of Finance General Warrant for salaries issued each month.”
We won’t call off strike
However, NAGRAT President, Angel Carbonu, speaking on the Point Blank segment of Eyewitness News said the estimated number of teachers the arrears is expected to cover is minimal since “2,500 covers just less than 5 percent of the total number of teachers.”
He indicated that the Association will not call off its strike until NAGRAT “monitors the payment regime and ensure that by April 6 teachers are indeed paid, while government gives a road-map for the payment of salary arrears for the rest of the teachers.”
NAGRAT strike needless
Meanwhile, a Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei-Asare, on the same platform said NAGRAT’s strike was needless, given that there had been official correspondence between the Ministry and the Ghana Education Service on timelines for the settlement of arrears.
“We said we were going to issue a release letter before March 3, indicating that by April 6 their monies will hit their accounts, so the teacher unions should wait until then before issuing complaints.”
“The CAGD was working throughout the Easter break to ensure that the money hits the accounts by April 6” she said.
‘We are disgusted’
This strike comes after previous threats in December 2017 and January 2018.
Mr. Carbonu had earlier stated NAGRAT has been left frustrated and disgusted by the government’s posture in the matter of the arrears which date back to 2013.
According to him, the government was only toying with the union.
“The disquiet among our members has reached its fever pitch over the broken promises and deceit regarding the non-payment of these areas by the government… What we see are orchestrations, tactics, maneuvering and manipulations employed by the Ministry of Finance and the government to drag its feet and possibly refuse to repay the arrears at all.”
The arrears include vehicle maintenance allowance, transfer grants, transport and travel allowances.
“All these amount to over 50 million cedis, and there is also salary arrears of those who have been recruited into the Ghana Education Service, and they have taught for months and have not been paid for those months that they have taught. They also owe us allowances and arrears that ought to be paid, and all these we are not getting any clear indication as to government’s determination to pay these monies, so once we have a situation like this, we are affected by government’s ineptitude to address the issues.”